1 And when they [i.e., Jesus and the twelve apostles] approached Jerusalem and came close to Bethphage, near the Mount of Olives [Note: This was about three-fourths of a mile east of Jerusalem], Jesus sent two disciples on ahead, 2 saying to them, "Go into the village there and immediately you will find a donkey tied up with her colt. Untie them and bring them to me. 3 If anyone says something to you, tell them, 'The Lord needs these animals,' and he will immediately send them.
4 Now this will happen in order to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet, saying,
5 [Zech. 9:9], 'You should tell the daughter of Zion [i.e., the people of Jerusalem], look, your King is coming to you. He is gentle and [will be] riding on a donkey, [even] on a colt, the offspring of the donkey.'"
6 And the disciples went and did exactly what Jesus had ordered them to do. 7 They brought the donkey and its colt and spread their clothing on them, and Jesus mounted the colt. 8 A large part of the crowd spread their clothing on the roadway; others cut branches from trees and spread them [also] on the roadway. 9 And the crowds that walked ahead and followed behind Him shouted, "Hosanna to the son of David. [Note: The Syriac word 'Hosanna' originally meant 'save now' but came to be used as an expression of welcome, praise, blessing or acclamation]. May He, who comes in the name [i.e., by the authority] of the Lord, be blessed. Hosanna in the highest [i.e., may this blessing reach to the highest heaven]."
10 And when He had come to Jerusalem, the entire city was stirred up; they were asking, "Who is this man?" 11 The crowds answered, "He is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth in Galilee."
12 Then Jesus entered the Temple of God and drove out all those who bought and sold things there. He upset the tables of the cashiers [i.e., those who exchanged foreign coins] and the benches of those who sold pigeons [for sacrifices]. 13 And He said to them, "It is written [Isa. 56:7], 'My house [i.e., the Temple] will be called a house for prayer', but [Jer. 7:11 says], 'You have made it a hideout for thieves.'"
14 [Then] blind and crippled people came to Him in the Temple and He healed them. 15 But when the leading priests and the experts in the law of Moses saw the wonderful things [i.e., miracles] He was performing and [heard] the children shouting in the Temple, "Hosanna to the son of David," [See note at verse 9], they were filled with anger [i.e., over the acclaim being given to Jesus]. 16 They said to Jesus, "Do you hear what these [children] are saying [about you]?" Jesus answered them, "Yes, [I do]. Have you not read [in Psa. 8:2] 'You have ordained that praise would come from the mouths of infants and small children?'"
17 He then left them and went out of the city [of Jerusalem] to Bethany [Note: This was a small village near Bethphage] and stayed there [i.e., probably at the home of Mary, Martha and Lazarus. See John 11:1].
18 Now in the morning, as Jesus returned to the city [of Jerusalem], He became hungry. 19 Upon seeing a fig tree along side of the road, He approached it [i.e., expecting to find fruit on it], but found nothing but leaves. He said to the tree, "There will not be fruit on you ever again." Immediately the fig tree withered up.
20 When His disciples saw this, they marvelled, saying, "How could the fig tree wither up so suddenly?"
21 Jesus answered, "Truly I tell you, if you have faith, without doubting, you will not only [be able to] do what was done to this fig tree, but even if you tell this mountain, 'Be lifted up and thrown into the ocean,' it will happen. 22 And everything you ask for in prayer you will receive, if you have [enough] faith."
23 When He had come into the Temple, the leading priests and elders of the [Jewish] people came to Him while He was teaching, and said, "By what authority are you doing these things [i.e., miracles and teaching]? And who gave you this authority?"
24 Jesus answered them, "Let me also ask you a question. If you answer it, then I will tell you by what authority I am doing these things. 25 Where did the immersion of John come from? From heaven or from men?" And they discussed this among themselves, saying, "If we say, 'from heaven,' He will say to us, 'Why then did you not believe his message?' 26 But if we say, 'from men,' we are afraid the crowd will oppose us because they all consider John to be a prophet." 27 So, they answered Jesus, "We do not know [where John got the authority for his immersion]." Jesus then replied to them, "[Then] neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things [i.e., miracles and teaching].
28 But what do you think [about this]? A man had two sons; He went to the first one and said, 'Son, go to work in my vineyard today.'
29 The son answered, 'No, I will not,' but later changed his mind and went. 30 He went to the second son and said the same thing. That son replied, '[Yes], sir, I will,' [but] then did not go.
31 Which of these two sons did what his father wanted?" They answered, "The first one." Jesus said to them, "Truly I tell you, tax collectors and prostitutes [will] enter the kingdom of God ahead of you. 32 For John came to show you the way to be right with God, but you would not believe his message. Yet the tax collectors and prostitutes believed it, and when you saw this, even then you did not change your minds so as to believe his message.
33 "Listen to another parable [i.e., a brief story used to illustrate His teaching]: There was the owner of a farm who planted a vineyard and built a fence around it. He constructed a grape squeezing device, built a [lookout] tower [near it], leased it to tenant farmers and then went to another country. 34 And when the season for harvesting the grapes approached, the owner of the farm sent his slaves to the tenant farmers to arrange for delivery of his crop. 35 But the tenant farmers took the farm owner's slaves and beat one, killed another and stoned another. 36 The owner of the farm then sent additional slaves and they were treated the same way. 37 Then later on he sent his own son to the tenant farmers, saying, '[Surely] they will treat my son with respect.'
38 But when the tenant farmers saw the son, they said to one another, 'This is the heir [to the vineyard]. Come on, let us kill him so we can take over his inheritance.' 39 So, they took him and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him. 40 When the owner of the vineyard returns, what [do you think] he will do to those tenant farmers?
41 They answered him, "He will bring terrible destruction on those evil men and will lease the vineyard to other tenant farmers who will deliver the crops to him each harvest time."
42 Jesus [then] said to the leading priests and elders of the Jewish people, "Did you not ever read in the Scriptures [Psa. 118:22-23], 'The building block rejected by the builders is the same one that was made the principal stone by which the entire building was aligned. This was planned by the Lord and is a marvelous thing to us'?
43 Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken from you [Jews] and will be given to a nation [i.e., the Gentiles] that will produce the fruit of the kingdom. 44 And the person who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces, but whoever it falls on will be scattered like dust."
45 And when the leading priests and Pharisees heard Jesus' parables, they realized He was speaking about them. 46 When they attempted to arrest Him, [they hesitated because] they feared [what] the crowds [might do], since they considered Jesus a prophet.